New Covid hotspots are emerging in rural villages across India
NEW DELHI: After overwhelming India's megacities, the coronavirus is now moving through the country's vast hinterland.
Home to nearly 70% of India's 1.3 billion population, the nation's villages have little access to healthcare and are struggling to support themselves through the country's prolonged economic slowdown.
Initially isolated from the epidemic that has swamped the capital New Delhi and financial center Mumbai, rural areas were exposed when millions of migrant workers who lost their jobs in the cities when the government implemented a strict nationwide lockdown on March 25 went home.
The states of Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh received the most number of returning labourers - now they are also witnessing the sharpest rise in new cases in the two weeks to June 8, according to internal government estimates seen by Bloomberg. In the rural districts of Rajasthan and Karnataka, the virus is also spreading rapidly, it showed.
Infections have now spread to 98 of the country's 112 poorest rural districts, up from 34 on April 15, according to the report from NITI Aayog, the government's planning body. Nearly 2,250 new cases were added in those districts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration runs the risk of a burgeoning death toll if the pandemic's spread is not checked in rural India, where under-funded health care infrastructure and poor living conditions provide fertile ground for the virus. India is already the world's fourth most affected country, and an exponential rise in cases in the villages could catapult it higher. With the crisis pushing the economy toward its first full-year contraction in more than four decades, the likelihood of increasing social unrest continues to grow.
The Prime Minister's Office didn't respond to an email seeking comment for this story.
Chaiwala will take credit only but not failure.
Chaiwala management of world biggest democracy. Mockery of democracy that elected chaiwala.
Blame goes to the moron sitting at helm , who did no planning while announcing lock down .
with only 500 cases then , time should have been given for migrant workers to safely reach home .
Getting worse and worse.
Now Modi needs war to distract from the corona disease.
I'm disappointed in the Modi Govt. for pandering to big business interests.
Govt is responsible for that. They very badly handled the poor migrant labors. This is a severe crisis. Govt should to take early steps and protect their lives
they are not worth protecting
It had to happen as migrant workers returned to their villages
But there is no solution even....they would ve starved to dearh if they stayed back...!